By Sue Wasserman
When it comes to everyday business operations, Caroline Christopoulos and Lauren Harr do everything by the book. In fact, doing things by the book is their business. The dynamic duo recently launched Gold Leaf Literary Services, LLC, a boutique agency to provide services such as publicity, book tours and agent solicitations for new and established authors.
Long-time Malaprops Bookstore employees, the two have just the right experience to do it. While the business is only a few months old, the idea had been percolating for several years, during which time Christopoulos had become a senior book buyer for the renowned Asheville-based independent bookseller, while Harr worked in special events.
“I can’t tell you how many times customers came in and asked us who they should talk to about finding an agent or giving a reading or how to go about creating publicity,” Harr says.
“So many of the people we met set goals for themselves or their books, but didn’t have the time, energy or connections to make them happen,” Christopoulos adds. “Meanwhile, we had accumulated so much experience and built so many relationships, we felt we had something valuable to offer.”
You might say Harr was born into her literary-inspired career. “We had a bookcase in every room of our house growing up, including the bathroom,” she says. After getting her degree in creative writing, she went on to intern for Gray Wolf Press before working in publicity at Coffee House Press. Her self-published father, of whom she is immensely proud, has become one of the agency’s clients. “I feel like this business has pulled me along with it,” she says.
Christopoulos, who always loved reading, became friends with Malaprops’ manager shortly after moving to Asheville from Massachusetts. “At first, it was a job that simply paid the bills,” she remembers. “It didn’t take me long, though, to fall in love with this business. I love the people; they’re smart, quirky and fun. Because those of us in the business are always reading books, there’s always something to talk about.”
While Harr is focused solely on agency and personal projects, Christopoulos continues working at Malaprops two days a week. “They’re so supportive of us,” Christopoulos says. “They know they will also reap benefits from a more educated author community.”
The two are excited to currently be working with several local authors, including Alan Gratz, Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan, who wrote the bestseller The Girls of Atomic City. “We’re assisting with the publicity surrounding her next project,” Harr says. They’ll also be offering a publishing and publicity primer through the Great Smokies Writing Program in the fall.
To learn more, visit goldleafliterary.com.